The Caps are in the midst of an actual winning streak and they’ve scored at least four goals in three straight games for the first time in 78 consecutive contests (regular and post season.) Does the moribund start to the season seem like a distant memory? It’s a memory but not so distant. The turnaround started when these guys began to apply maximum effort for 60 minutes per night. Then something clicked on the power play and they have been pouring in the goals and pulled the team success rate up over 27%, which is fourth best in the NHL. Temporary seismic disturbance or are we finally seeing what Adam Oates was brought in to do? The sample size is too small but the signs are encouraging.
Now the bad news: The defense is way behind and their play in their own end is atrocious. They are making an inordinate amount of turnovers which are leading to good scoring chances and keeping opponents in the game. The Caps goals against average is 3.5 per contest which has them in 28th place out of 30 teams. Braden Holtby gave up five in the 6-5 win on Tuesday against Florida, and looked great. Perhaps the D will be the next to fall in line, but you can’t keep leaving your net minder out to dry. I’ll admit that the boys are starting to look like the high flying Caps of several years ago who would get into scoring contests and provide lots of excitement for the fans. I enjoy a high scoring affair as much as anyone, but ultimately, tough defense is going to win the Stanley Cup.
With 1/4 of the season already complete, they will need 44 points in their last 34 games to make the playoffs. The next three are against eastern conference defensive powerhouse opponents the New York Rangers, and then back-to-back affairs against the New Jersey Devils. If they can get four points from these three contests, they’ll be on track. Watching closely now, Let’s Go Caps!